The Show Must Go On

Better Photography|May 2020

The Show Must Go On
A look at Swarat Ghosh’s documentation of an over century-old theatre group in Hyderabad, who are struggling to make ends meet in this crucial period.
Conchita Fernandes

The Surabhi Theatre in Hyderabad has a rich history that spans across 135 years, when migrants from Maharashtra arrived at the Sorugu village in Cudappah, Andhra Pradesh, and began performing puppet shoes.

However, it wasn’t until 1885 that members of the community performed their first play at a wedding in their resident village. Called Keechaka Vadham, the play revolved around Keechaka’s attempts to woo Draupadi (characters from the Mahabharata). Adapted by Vanarasa Govinda Rao (the founder of Surabhi), the play included his family members portraying the various roles. Its success cemented a tradition that continues to this day.

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May 2020